Discipline is Discipleship
Posted by Kurt Earl in Public
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Have you ever driven a car with wheels out of alignment? The car shakes and shimmies, especially as you accelerate or slow down. I think we all know that it’s unwise to drive a car on a lengthy road trip if the alignment is bad. Doing so can ruin the tires and cause wear and tear that is expensive and dangerous.
In leadership, it’s easy to start thinking and acting in ways that are not aligned with the type of program you are trying to build.
Too often, we fall into the trap of doing whatever reaps immediate results rather than what teaches and trains our athletes to think and act in alignment with our program’s ambitions and definition of success.
The most obvious example of this is often a coach’s practice when it comes time to discipline an athlete. It is easy to slip into using fear, shame, and pride as your primary tactics for disciplining an athlete.
- Fear: establishing consequences that your athletes are afraid of, such as various forms of conditioning.
- Shame: requiring athletes to engage in some sort of behavior that is merely designed to shame them and not teach them (I can remember lots of these from summer camps back in the day).
- Pride: Rewarding athletes in a way that can lead to bragging or lording it over other athletes.
To be clear, all of these can have a place in your program. I used lots of small rewards in my first couple of as a head coach, but at the end of the day, if you’re trying to build an audience independent culture, these will not get you there.
Fear, shame, and pride might help set the initial impression that everyone will be held accountable to expectations and standards. Still, they won’t do anything to teach and train your athletes how to have audience independent ambitions, motivations, and mindsets.
So how do you discipline your athletes in ways that align with the type of culture you’re trying to instill?
Discipline is discipleship.
The goal isn’t to merely modify behaviors; it’s to teach and train your athletes in how they should think. The goal is to create a culture that makes disciples. Therefore, the first thing you must do is ask yourself: How does a disciple of my program think?
Once you’ve answered that question, you’ll naturally think about ways to teach and train your athletes in and out of season.
If you’re looking for more help on creating a team discipline system, click the button below to learn more about how the Culture Coordinator can help you build disciples!
If you’re already a member of the Culture Coordinator, January’s coaching session is going to be all about the Team Discipline System. Members can view all of their members-only resources here.